It’s time for the next two selections in R&B singer/songwriter Kal’L Gage‘s Top 8 Favorite Mainstream Collabs. Number six on the on the list is “Promise” by crooners Romeo Santos & Usher. For those who may not be familiar with Mr. Santos, he is the former lead singer of the Latin group Aventura. The group had a solid run from 1994 to 2011. Their signature was taking traditional Bachata music and fusing it with more modern day sounds like R&B, Pop, Hip-Hop, etc. Upon the group’s separation in 2011, Santos went solo but was adamant that Aventura would make a return sometime in the future.
The single “Promise” comes from Santos’ debut album Formula: Volume 1. It was co-written as well as produced by another Milwaukee talent, Rico Love. It served as the LP’s second single. Santos and Usher came together via an introduction from Santos’ manager. Usher was impressed with Santos’ abilities as an artist and felt like a collaboration with him would be something that people were sure to remember. It was Usher’s first time ever singing over Bachata music. And it turned out well as the single performed incredibly on various Latin music charts. A video for the single was released on October 4, 2011. It was directed by Anthony Mandler. It entailed the duo spending 24 hours on set with: a specialized location, full lights, multiple cameras, and numerous special effects. The concept centers around the fellas expressing their love to their significant others while at the same time asking them to promise that they will never leave. The video was a major hit worldwide upon hitting the small screens, especially in the states, which came as a surprise due to the fact that Santos performs his part completely in Spanish. **Why It Made The Countdown: “In this song, you get the best of both worlds. Both of these artists are well respected in their genres and a song like this had never been done before. Both artists had to have the courage to try something new and in the end, it was all worth it.” – Kal’L Gage
The number five entry is something a little more well known, it’s “Contagious” by The Isley Brothers & R. Kelly. The record came out in 2001 and it is featured on The Isley Brothers’ Eternal album. Additionally, it marks for one of the many entries in the saga of R. Kelly versus Ronald Isley aka Mr. Biggs. Stemming from the late 90’s, the two seemed to always wind up at odds over a pretty lady whenever they ended up on a track together. The song also features minor vocal work from R&B diva Chante Moore. The theme of the song revolves around infidelity. The track turned out to be a huge hit in the R&B world and broke records on the charts as well as snagged the fellas an award. It’s success is accredited for the double platinum status of the Eternal LP. The video plays out as what has been described as an R&B opera. It basically brings the theme of the single to fruition. Mr. Biggs comes home to discover his lady (played by Moore) in bed with R. Kelly. A confrontation ensues during which references are made to the duo’s infamous first battle (R. Kelly’s “Down Low – Nobody Has To Know”). Things end a little more civilly this time around though. The flick was also a major success for the group and has approximately six million views to date. **Why It Made The Countdown: “When it comes to collaborations, this is one that has stood the test of time. You mention “Contagious” and everyone knows the song. That’s why I chose it; because I aspire to someday make music that will stand the test of time.” – Kal’L Gage
**My Two Cents: This week’s selections were pretty interesting. This was my first time ever hearing “Promise” by Romeo Santos & Usher. It was different for sure but not bad at all. I can definitely understand why it was so popular. And everyone loves a good back and forth between R. Kelly and Mr. Biggs. Their little rifts always made for great music. Plus, it’s just really nice to see such major names in the R&B world working together. Just four more picks left to reveal before the highly anticipated Collaboration Week 2 kicks off. Be sure to check back next Sunday. -MinM